THE Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) will sit down with Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. Monday, September 10, and ask him to convene the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) amid pressing concerns over the surging inflation.
Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of MBCCI, told SunStar Bacolod Sunday, September 9, said they will discuss with the governor the urgent need to convene the council as prices of goods and services are rapidly increasing.
Marañon chairs the LPPC in the provincial level, with member-agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Agriculture (DA), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), among others.
Sectoral representatives from agriculture, manufacturing, and retail, who are appointed by the governor, also form part the council, though, the National Food Authority (NFA) can be called if the issue is concerning rice.
Reacting to a SunStar Bacolod report that the purchasing power of the peso in Negros Occidental declined to P0.82 as inflation peaked at 8.7 percent, higher than the national average rate of 6.4 percent in August, Carbon said: “this is quite alarming.”
He earlier said there must be some immediate actions from the government.
“The price coordinating council, including here in the province and the city, should be convening now to determine the impact of the surging inflation to the people as it is already hurting us especially the lower and middle classes,” Carbon reiterated.
On September 5, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced that inflation, or the sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services, climbed to another nine-year high.
The hike in the country’s inflation rate has been going on since the start of 2018.
June’s inflation rate is at 5.2 percent; May, 4.6 percent; April, 4.5 percent; March, 4.3 percent; February, 3.8 percent; and January, 3.4 percent.
The PSA also reported that annual increases were observed in food and non-alcoholic beverages at 8.5 percent; alcoholic beverages and tobacco, 21.6 percent; furnishing and household equipment, 3.5 percent; health, four percent; restaurants and miscellaneous goods and services, also four percent; and recreation and culture, 2.4 percent.
The annual rate of the food index further climbed by 8.2 percent, it added.
For Negros Occidental alone, the agency here reported that inflation in January was 3.9 percent; February, 4.6 percent; March, 5.4 percent; April, 6.2 percent; May, 6.0 percent; June, 7.0 percent; and July, 7.2 percent.
“At least 90 percent of our businesses are small enterprises, which will be substantially affected by higher inflation,” Carbon said.
As inflation increases, the purchasing power of the peso decreases.
Using 2012 as the base year, the purchasing power of the peso in the province as of last month is P0.82. This means that Negrense’s P100 six years ago can only buy goods worth P82 today.
Lea Gonzales, provincial director of DTI-Negros Occidental, said there are increases in the price of basic and prime commodities being monitored by the agency.
Though, it is not yet alarming, said Gonzales, who is also the vice chairman of the LPCC.
Those with “huge” increases are agricultural products like rice, she pointed out.
“Adjustments in prices of basic and prime commodities are still within the 10 percent allowable increase,” she said, adding that if retailers allegedly overprice “they will be called to explain how they got their products from supplier to determine if there is profiteering.”
DTI central office earlier released the new suggested retail prices (SRPs) of manufactured basic necessities and prime commodities effective starting this month.
The new price list now includes the Visayas and Mindanao SRPs for Fidel iodized salt while a total of seven Shelf Keeping Units (SKUs) of canned sardines, evaporated milk, corned beef, detergent soap, and toilet soap have adjustments in their SRPs.
“There are upward adjustments with the new SRPs issued by the national agency which will also serve as our basis here in the province,” Gonzales said.